Adding a Sleeping Porch to a Mini Cabin
Sleeping porches are not a new concept, but they are one that is coming back around as far as cabin design trends go. These porches are often found in historical homes in the south. They were built as a means of surviving long and very hot summer nights before air conditioners and fans were made available. They were a practical way of taking advantage of summer night breezes when nights could get restless due to the heat.
Sleeping porches are more than just a practical means of taking advantage of cooler outside temps or creating a dreamy woodland sleeping experience; they can actually be beneficial to your health as well.
What is a Sleeping Porch?
A sleeping porch is a screened-in covered porch that allows you to essentially sleep outside but you still have the protection of a roof over your head and a screen to keep out animals and bugs.
Benefits of Sleeping Outside
Sleep experts today believe that sleeping in an area with plenty of fresh air offers the health benefits of resetting circadian rhythms to align to the light and dark of the natural day and it also helps to lower both cortisol and blood pressure levels.
In the grand scheme of things over the entire span of human history humans have only been living the indoor lifestyle for a very short blip of time. Some health experts are seeing a connection between humans being outdoors and higher levels of overall health. A recent study found that homes in tree-lined areas help owners to lower cortisol levels. Taming cortisol which is a stress hormone helps to lower your pulse and blood pressure as well as relaxes parasympathetic nerve activity.
Other studies have shown that the body’s production of melatonin, which is a hormone that rises and falls with natural light, better aligns with nature and can come into a better balance when there is a natural adjustment of light and dark from the sun and the moon. An increase in melatonin makes the body sleepy and getting in sync with the sun and the moon helps a body to be able to sleep at the proper time of day. Long hours of blue light exposure from electronic devices have shown to be exhausting and overstressing many of us.
Design Tips for Sleeping Porches that are Fun and Beneficial to Your Mini Cabin
Keep things simple. Too much clutter can distract from the main purpose of your healthy sleeping area. Let nature be the dominant theme of your sleep-in porch.
Convert a porch you already have. You could easily turn a porch on your mini cabin into a sleeping porch with a small lean-to roof and some screens. Or maybe you already have a covered porch or deck on your mini-cabin that could easily be converted with the use of some screens and bringing in a comfy bed.
Make sure to use high-quality outdoor fabrics. Though the area is somewhat protected by a roof and screens you still want to use fabrics that are more durable for outdoor elements. The great thing about outdoor fabrics is there are many more available right now in countless colors and patterns. Especially since so many people were looking for new and creative ways to use their outdoor spaces when things shut down during the pandemic.
Consider placement. If you are building a brand-new deck off the side of your mini-cabin from ground zero, consider the best place to put it. Most often this will be at the back of the mini-cabin for the utmost privacy. But most of the time cabins are in secluded areas anyway so you may want to consider what area is the shadiest and cool to be an ideal sleeping location for very hot summer nights.
A heating element will enable use all year long. Those with the most luxurious of sleeping porches have incorporated heating elements to be able to use their dreamy outdoor space longer. This can include a small but safe electric heater or a wood stove. Some who love their sleeping porches can be seen bundling up and using the space into the winter.
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